Lynda Barry gets a guest-appearance in The Family Circus


Originally published at:


Saw the comic, thought “what a sassy-looking character for ‘Family Circus.’ I hope she’s a regular.”

Didn’t make the Barry connection.

Thumbs up for Jeffy Keane.


Seems like if you want to meet Jeff Keane, it would be pretty easy to find him…you just follow the dashed line he leaves behind him, right?


This clip from Go (1999) summarizes how I feel about the comic.

But I have to admit this is a touching story.


One of the greatest things I’ve ever witnessed in my life was a double-feature talk. First up: Lynda Barry talks about drawing as a necessary therapy for humans. The chaser was Tony Millionaire recalling diseased moments from his debauched young adulthood. I think we all learned something about cartoonists on that day.

I recommend that you check out Lynda telling this story about Family Circus – the TED Talk will do – in full color.


I work at NASA Goddard and she was a guest lecturer here about a year ago; that was one of the things she talked about. (Actually it was the day that Prince died, but I don’t think anyone knew, yet.) I’m hoping they’ll bring her back!

EDIT: Also, I’m pretty sure I saw this at BB in the first place:


I love Lynda Barry so much, and her longstanding affection for The Family Circus makes me want to hug her. She’s brilliant.

That said… “feels”… ugh…


Never heard about the Lynda Barry / Family Circus talk. I know her family was a major shit-show.

Barry gave a talk at . . . Powell’s, maybe? . . . about ten years ago. Really great, multi-media thing. I ordered a CD of her NPR segments and other material; came in a manila envelope with stickers and sparkle-ink hearts, as though some 12 year old girl had sent it. Of course I kept it!


That’s why if you say a word against Family Circus to me if I’ve had a few drinks I will slug you so hard.

Challenge accepted.


I saw Lynda Barry read once too. She brought candy for the audience, and threw it in big handfuls at random times during the reading. It was great.


It always seemed to me like The Lockhorns or Marmaduke – a one frame comic that seemed to be in all the papers out of tradition or something. I can’t imagine feeling a strong feeling one way or the other about them – The Far Side they ain’t.


It makes me sad that Bil Keane didn’t name his son Jef.


Exactly. Like most newspaper comics, it looks like something from a bygone era, and too treacly for me to stomach most of the time.


This also reminds me how much I miss Ernie Pook’s Comeek.


Well, as Lynda is basically saying, treacly can seem pretty nice when your own family (as revealed in her book ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS!) is a constantly panic-inducing shitshow.


It can seem nice, but my reaction was different. More like, “ugh, normal people. I’m supposed to care why?” I don’t begrudge anyone who felt differently from me though. Everyone is different.


Yeah. I’m certainly not about to defend the Circle’s valorization of white-bread heteronormative family life.


Me either, but I understand those who do.

I’m more Fun Home than Family Circus myself.

I never liked Family Circus, but it doesn’t surprise me terribly that Lynda Barry does, and somehow I respect her even more for it.


Oh sure, Fun Home is amazing. And oh, to live in a society where Family Circle sits in the daily papers right next to Dykes to Watch Out For!


Add in Something Positive and Cat and Girl, and I’ll buy a subscription to that newspaper!